Murray upbeat despite loss

Andy Murray looked back fondly on a breakthrough clay-court campaign after seeing his French Open dreams perish at the quarter-final stage last night.

Andy Murray looked back fondly on a breakthrough clay-court campaign after seeing his French Open dreams perish at the quarter-final stage last night.

The British number one was bidding to become only the second British man in the Open era, after Tim Henman, to reach the last four at Roland Garros but he ran out of steam in losing 6-3 3-6 6-0 6-4 to big-hitting Gonzalez, the 12th seed.

Murray has come on leaps and bounds on the dirt over the past three months and he refused to be downcast after his defeat in only his third grand-slam quarter-final.

"It's been a very good one (clay season) for me, a lot better than previous years," said the 22-year-old.

"It's not like after a match like this I'm going to get down about it.

"I've won a lot of matches, probably double the amount of matches that I had won in my life on clay before this stretch.

"I'll just go and improve and work on some things in the next week or so, and hopefully play well on grass."

Murray, the third seed, saw his half of the draw at Roland Garros open up as a result of top seed and reigning champion Rafael Nadal's shock defeat to Robin Soderling on Sunday.

He could not capitalise however, as Gonzalez's greater clay-court nous came through in the end yesterday on Philippe Chatrier court.

The Chilean's booming forehand was the difference. He hit 45 winners over the four sets, some of them coming from outrageous angles that left Murray chasing shadows at times.

Murray admitted he was left punch-drunk by his practice partner's renowned weapon.

"No-one's hit the ball that big. If that happens, sometimes you've got to say: 'Too good'," the Scot said.

"If you look at some of the shots he's hit, he's hitting forehands from a metre wide of the tramlines on some points - and hitting winners off them.

"Even if you try to hit a ball to his backhand, he runs around and spanks a winner. You can't do a whole lot about that."

Soderling, the 23rd seed, will play Gonzalez in the semi-finals after the Swede's straight-sets win over Nikolay Davydenko.

Second seed Roger Federer will today resume his bid to claim his first Roland Garros title when he takes on Gael Monfils in the quarter-finals.

The winner of that match will play either Juan Martin del Potro or Tommy Robredo in the second semi-final.

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